Mika Brzezinski, David Brock agree that Priebus has a point about Hillary films

posted at 10:41 am on August 7, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

What happens when Mika Brzezinski, Media Matters founder David Brock, and RNC chair Reince Priebus all agree on a political matter?

Well, maybe it’s not quite that dramatic, but after the hailstorm we endured here in the Twin Cities after this happened … I’m keeping my eyes peeled, at least. Priebus demanded that NBC and CNN cancel their plans to air films based on the life of Hillary Clinton as a condition of partnering with the RNC on presidential primary debates for the 2016 cycle.  Both broadcasters immediately rejected the ultimatum, but Priebus got immediate support from a most unlikely source, although for different reasons:

In an unexpected bipartisan alliance, the liberal watchdog Media Matters For America is planning to back the Republican National Committee’s campaign to pressure NBC and CNN into canceling their respective Hillary Clinton film projects, POLITICO has learned.

On Tuesday evening, Media Matters founder and longtime Clinton ally David Brock will send letters to the leadership at NBC Entertainment and CNN International expressing support for RNC chairman Reince Priebus and his pledge to pull the two networks’ rights to moderate or sponsor Republican primary debates unless they pull their film projects.

Brock’s motive is different from Priebus’s, of course. In addition to heading MMFA, Brock is the chairman of American Bridge super PAC, which recently launched an effort called “Correct the Record” to protect Clinton and other Democrats from “Republican smears.” In his letters to NBC and CNN, Brock suggests that the “right-wing noise machine” is already pressuring those networks “to adopt its ideological lens on Clinton.”

“Given that this project could coincide with a potential Clinton campaign, the timing raises too many questions about fairness and conflicts of interest ahead of the 2016 election,” Brock writes in letters to both NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt and CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker, which were obtained by POLITICO.

Brock has two concerns, one a little more rational than the other.  As Priebus also argued, running hagiographies of Hillary as organizing efforts for the next presidential cycle begin not only puts an eventual Republican nominee at a disadvantage, but also any potential Democratic primary opponents as well.  In fact, it may do more damage there by discouraging contributors and organizers from backing other Democrats.  The likelihood of Brock’s other concern becoming reality — that NBC and CNN will “adopt [the] ideological lens” of the GOP — is so unlikely as to merit nothing more than a shrug or a laugh.

Mika Brzezinski cut closer to the heart of the matter in her comments yesterday, both on and off air.  On air, Brzezinski called it “kind of a conflict,” but Joe Scarborough told the audience that she put it more colorfully — and accurately — before the segment aired:

“You said off the air, Mika, it was as if they were trying to climb up something of the entire Clinton organization.”

That’s what it looks like from most perspectives, and why Priebus is correct to call out those decisions. Let’s hope it leads to much broader reform on debates, which Priebus promises.


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Moving away from the Hill. How quaint.

Bmore on August 7, 2013 at 10:45 AM

It will be the first Diane Lane movie I won’t watch. And that saddens me.

John the Libertarian on August 7, 2013 at 10:45 AM

I only listen to Joe when he wears his Magic Glasses of Intelligence.

Bishop on August 7, 2013 at 10:46 AM

On air, Brzezinski called it “kind of a conflict,”

Yeah, kinda I guess maybe.

forest on August 7, 2013 at 10:48 AM

“You said off the air, Mika, it was as if they were trying to climb up something of the entire Clinton organization.”

As if MSNBC could be dislodged from their lofty and prominent position therein.

Harbingeing on August 7, 2013 at 10:48 AM

And yet she said that fox is the mouthpiece of the gop and msdnc is not one for the dems

cmsinaz on August 7, 2013 at 10:50 AM

That dowdy female columnist in the New York Times agrees as well.

The bigger picture of course is the entire debate schedule, format, and importance that gets attached because it’s some sort of entertainment spectacle.

Drained Brain on August 7, 2013 at 10:53 AM

It’s their network, let them do whatever they want. I have zero issues with that, as long as they understand any consequences that arise from it.

Johnnyreb on August 7, 2013 at 10:54 AM

On air, Brzezinski called it “kind of a conflict,”

Yeah, kinda I guess maybe.

forest on August 7, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Yeah, there aren’t that many connections within the WH to any news organizations…

Consider the words of Richard Grenell, a political consultant who in an appearance on Fox News noted that top networks ABC, CBS and CNN have intimate family ties to the Administration. “CBS News President David Rhodes and ABC News President Ben Sherwood, both of them have siblings that not only work at the White House, that not only work for President Obama, but they work at the NSC on foreign policy issues directly related to Benghazi,” said Grenell.

CNN’s deputy Washington bureau chief, Virginia Mosely, is married to Tom Nides, who was appointed by Obama to work under Hillary as Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources. This means that the Benghazi scandal causes some familial angst. What better (or worse, depending on your perspective) reason to go soft on reporting than because your own family is involved?

“Conservatives have suggested that these relationships may play a role in how the media cover Obama, specifically in their supposedly timid approach to reporting on the White House’s handling of the terrorist attacks last year on American facilities in Benghazi, Libya,” writes Farhi.

Clearly, ABC, CBS, and CNN cannot be trusted to tell the whole story on Benghazi. But the bias doesn’t end there.

It is commonly known that David Plouffe, Obama’s former campaign manager, has joined Bloomberg News as a commentator, and former senior advisor to the president David Axelrod was hired by MSNBC. (The President went so far as to joke at the latest White House Correspondents’ Association dinner that “… David Axelrod now works for MSNBC, which is a nice change of pace since MSNBC used to work for David Axelrod.”)

What is less well known is that 14 or more journalists have joined the Obama Administration and taken key posts there.

It’s as if they have hired the entire corporate leadership within the LSM.

It must be Bush’s fault. I mean, what else explains it…/

Patriot Vet on August 7, 2013 at 10:57 AM

And yet she said that fox is the mouthpiece of the gop and msdnc is not one for the dems

cmsinaz on August 7, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Liberals always feel perpetually threatened, set-upon by evil Conservatives that are so old-fashioned we still bitterly cling to our guns, Bible, that Constitution, and that abominable Bill of Rights. All that, despite their precious Obama.

Obama was the big chance for the Left to finally get everything on their century-old wish list, and he blew it. Everything he has done is invariably a dismal failure.

Maybe buyer’s remorse is sinking in. I think Hillary would have advanced the liberal agenda a lot farther, and made it more popular than what Obama has done. Now, because of Obama, the liberal brand is badly damaged. The liberal media need to recover, but they don’t know how to do it.

In a lot of ways, I’m enjoying this.

Liam on August 7, 2013 at 11:00 AM

I. Don’t. Give. A. Crap. What. Priebus. Letalonemikaorbrock. Thinks.

And it’s da**ed unlikely any Republican debate is going to influence a NBC or CNN viewer … or me.

No more votes for RINOs.

M240H on August 7, 2013 at 11:03 AM

Well, maybe it’s not quite that dramatic, but after the hailstorm we endured here in the Twin Cities after this happened … I’m keeping my eyes peeled

Isn’t it bad enough that you all have a US Congressman who actually claims that the government isn’t broke. That there is plenty of money. It is just that wealth is in private hands instead of the government’s? Keith Ellison was pushing legislation that would tax transactions like stock sales but the bigger point is that he believes government owns it all and has a right to tell you just how much of the public wealth you can keep for your own petty (non-programatic) purposes.

Nevertheless, it is an interesting point. We are to be treated to fictionalized accounts of Hillary Clinton’s life both as a young lawyer then fast forward to when she was the super-smart SecState with a glossed over version of things like Monica Lewinski. Where were similar projects depicting Kerry or McCain’s life? And I really find it hard to believe that nobody has filmed a version of Audacity of Hope. Why Hillary and why now if not for partisan purposes.

Happy Nomad on August 7, 2013 at 11:05 AM

It will be the first Diane Lane movie I won’t watch. And that saddens me.

John the Libertarian on August 7, 2013 at 10:45 AM

You actually watched Judge Dredd?

Doughboy on August 7, 2013 at 11:05 AM

Worst part of the clip is Joe saying he likes Reince.

earlgrey133 on August 7, 2013 at 11:08 AM

In all seriousness, what was Hillary’s accomplishment as Senator? Anything?

What was her accomplishment as Secretary of State?

Has there ever been a biopic produced about someone who has actually accomplished so little?

Yes, she was a first lady. She was a lawyer. She was a Senator. She was secretary of state. But she wasn’t the first woman or most prestigious in any of those positions. She didn’t actually do anything in any of those positions that is notable.

She is notable only for being a part of a political dynasty. Has there ever been a biopic made of such a person while they were still alive before?

It’s a little odd. Except for the fact that we know the motivation is to launch and support her bid for the Presidency.

Monkeytoe on August 7, 2013 at 11:10 AM

And it’s da**ed unlikely any Republican debate is going to influence a NBC or CNN viewer … or me.

M240H on August 7, 2013 at 11:03 AM

The debates don’t attract only the regular viewers of the network. When MSNBC aired a Republican debate in 2011 they got their highest ratings in three years. That’s why Priebus has at least a little leverage with threatening to take Republican debates away from NBC and CNN. Those debates would get acceptable ratings.

J.S.K. on August 7, 2013 at 11:10 AM

I think Hillary would have advanced the liberal agenda a lot farther, and made it more popular than what Obama has done.

Liam on August 7, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Liam,

I’ve got to disagree with you on this. Aside from her own press releases there is nothing in Hillary Clinton’s background to suggest she would be a good leader. They literally had to seat her next to Joe Lieberman at her first SOTU as Senator so as she wouldn’t make a fool of herself. She spent her time in the Senate ramping up for running for President. She spent her time at State on feel-good junkets because the real foreign policy decisions were made by Jarrett and other un-elected un-confirmed members of the Chicago mafia.

Hillary Clinton has no leadership skills, no ability to unify, and no real agenda. She has accomplished nothing in high national office. I’m not sure how you conclude that she would have advanced the liberal agenda further than the current rat-eared officeholder.

Happy Nomad on August 7, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Liam :)

cmsinaz on August 7, 2013 at 11:25 AM

….something is wrong!

KOOLAID2 on August 7, 2013 at 11:27 AM

When MSNBC aired a Republican debate in 2011 they got their highest ratings in three years. That’s why Priebus has at least a little leverage with threatening to take Republican debates away from NBC and CNN. Those debates would get acceptable ratings.

J.S.K. on August 7, 2013 at 11:10 AM

I also think it is laying down a marker for 2016 when the discussion turns to debates for the general election. NBC and CNN have been put on notice to not even think about suggesting moderators who collaborate with the Demonrats.

Personally, I agree with the sentiment that the GOP should forego any general election debate in its current format.

Happy Nomad on August 7, 2013 at 11:27 AM

This crap is starting to really get on my nerves…I mean seriously, we just re-elected Captain Chuckles in November and ALREADY we are discussing this crap? I just can’t take 24/7 – 365 campaigns anymore. I still haven’t gotten rid of the headache ed from last election.

Can I get at least a year’s break from this crap? Guess not. All campaign, all the time. BLECCHHH

NJ Red on August 7, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Don’t make a threat you aren’t willing to go through with.
If they don’t cancel the projects, scratch them off the list for primary coverage.

Dexter_Alarius on August 7, 2013 at 11:34 AM

I’m not sure how you conclude that she would have advanced the liberal agenda further than the current rat-eared officeholder.

Happy Nomad on August 7, 2013 at 11:18 AM

I think she’d have been able to build on past hype, with all the usual doting and fawning by the media.

Hillary is no leader, that’s for damned sure. Obama is strictly in-your-face, a common street thug. Hillary is like that, too, except she knows when to act coy and be subtle. Hillary is a political animal, where Obama is down in the dirt without getting his hands dirty.

That’s why I think, in some ways, Hillary would have been the better choice to advance the liberal agenda. Not that I want that, of course. Plus, she would have Bill behind her. His popularity and savvy would come into play. Hillary would need him, and Bill’s damned good at what he does.

In many ways, I count America lucky Hillary lost out for sake of liberals’ need for appearance of ‘tolerance’.

Maybe I’m not explaining this right? It’s more a gut feeling I’m trying to convey than an analysis.

Liam on August 7, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Now if only Preibus had the guts to fight for the Presidential debates too.

Iblis on August 7, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Stop “negotiating”…. Tell the MSM they are more than welcome to run whatever they want on their airwaves – it’s their business decision. They just forfeit their access to your candidates across the board. They’re never going to play nice with your candidates anyway – stop playing.

2nd Ammendment Mother on August 7, 2013 at 11:43 AM

is this the same lady who plays on “House of Cards”?

JR on August 7, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Stop “negotiating”…. Tell the MSM they are more than welcome to run whatever they want on their airwaves – it’s their business decision. They just forfeit their access to your candidates across the board. They’re never going to play nice with your candidates anyway – stop playing.

2nd Ammendment Mother on August 7, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Far as I’m concerned, liberal media pundits have no business sticking their noses into Conservative matters. Many Conservatives used to be liberal, but no liberal has ever been Conservative. They see us according to their most base definitions, according to the their narrow vision of the Universe; they refuse to acknowledge and see us as we are according to our beliefs. Liberals don’t even share our values.

So, you’re totally right. I see no need to ‘negotiate’ with liberals. There is no common ground, so there’s no point to even try.

Liam on August 7, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Priebus’s position on this makes it that much harder to address the real issue — Republicans have been absolutely steamrolled on moderators in primaries, but especially in the presidential debates.

I don’t think Crowley should ever be allowed to moderate a debate again, primary or presidential, under any conditions, HRC movies or not.

Instead of this nonsense by Priebus, he ought to be saying:

Whoever the Republican nominee is, there must be a better way of picking moderators. Romney got sucker-punched by Crowley, and I’m here to help whoever our nominee is avoid that. And we also want to avoid this nonsense of a former Clinton hack teeing off the war on women campaign by asking about birth control in the primaries. So as far as the RNC is able, we will work with whomever to insure that the moderators aren’t people whose intent it is to further the Democratic nominee.

You can’t win this fight if you don’t name the real problem. And Priebus has yet to name the real problem.

EastofEden on August 7, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Scarborough is looking more and more like Waldo everyday

JR on August 7, 2013 at 11:54 AM

It’s more a gut feeling I’m trying to convey than an analysis.

Liam on August 7, 2013 at 11:35 AM

You make a good case. But the thing about Hillary is that, in some ways, she’s more devisive than the rat-eared coward. And every now and then the mask slips and we see the snarling “At this point, what difference does it make” Hillary.

I think the biggest difference would be in the approach. Hillary is better at picking her battles. Where the rat-eared coward spent months ramming Obamacare through, Hillary would have cut a lesser deal (understanding incrementalism) and gone on to another agenda item. Keep in mind Obama promised both the gays and the illegals that he would get around to rewarding them before the 2010 elections but Obamacare took so long and so much political capital that “their issues” were sidelined and abandoned when the GOP took the House. Not that those kind of people ever vote for Republicans anyway.

Happy Nomad on August 7, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Scarborough is looking more and more like Waldo everyday

JR on August 7, 2013 at 11:54 AM

It must be the MSDNC dress code because he and Rachael MadCow and the female version of Rachael that comes on just before she does all dress alike.

Happy Nomad on August 7, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Where the rat-eared coward spent months ramming Obamacare through, Hillary would have cut a lesser deal (understanding incrementalism) and gone on to another agenda item.

Happy Nomad on August 7, 2013 at 11:58 AM

That’s the thing I find most dangerous about Hillary regarding the liberal agenda: She’s motive, always in action when given the chance. Obama, on the other hand, stays stuck. He gets something he wants, using other people, then doesn’t know where to go next. He is always floundering, seeking something but he doesn’t know what. Well, except to have his ravenous ego constantly fed.

I sometimes think Obama is a liberal because he’s trained that way, like Pavlov’s dogs. Hillary, on the other hand, is a True Believer. Obama advances the liberal agenda by rote, where Hillary wants it because she’d dedicated to it — the same way you and I won’t any time soon let go of our guns.

I’m still running on my gut here. It’s just the way it all looks to me. And I don’t like any of it!

Liam on August 7, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Stop “negotiating”
2nd Ammendment Mother on August 7, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Yup. Especially since the RNC can choose their own moderators and stream debates directly to viewers/listeners, bypassing the MSM news completely.

but after the hailstorm we endured here in the Twin Cities
Ed Morrissey

Was quite a blast coming through. The lights were out from 8pm to 5am in my neck of the woods. Always have candles, flashlights, batteries and portable radio at hand, so I was good for the night.

whatcat on August 7, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Scarborough is looking more and more like Waldo everyday

JR on August 7, 2013 at 11:54 AM

I was thinking Barney Rubble. He’s got those same beady little eyes in the center of his head.

Cleombrotus on August 7, 2013 at 12:14 PM

I still think it’s not the smartest move by Priebus. He could have raised concerns, and warned that Republicans would be watching. If the movies glossed over the scandals, the failures, and the overall lack of accomplishments (and they will), then Republicans would act and refuse to participate in any of their so-called “debates”.

This would have given repeated opportunities to highlight the fundamental lack of fairness and apparent bias of NBC and CNN to the middle-of-the-roaders the movies are obviously intended to sway. It would have given repeated opportunities to air the laundry list of failures and corruption which will certainly be omitted that need to be attached to Hillary’s skirt. It would have justified the resulting boycott based on what CNN and NBC actually did as opposed to what we are pretty sure they will do, at a point far closer in time to the actual debates.

It is surprising that Mika and Joe actually are willing to recognize there is an issue of bias and fairness raised by these movies. And, apparently, Brock has a better grasp of the potential downsides than Priebus. Or is it that Priebus has a much smaller agenda?

I’m not giving Priebus credit for finally standing up to these openly partisan pretend journalists. He is simply trying to protect establishment candidates by limiting the opportunities for Tea Party upstarts to improve their position by focusing attention on their names and arguments in broadcast debates.

novaculus on August 7, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Has there ever been a biopic produced about someone who has actually accomplished so little?

Monkeytoe on August 7, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Do you mean, besides her former boss?

aunursa on August 7, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Stop “negotiating”

2nd Ammendment Mother on August 7, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Yup. Especially since the RNC can choose their own moderators and stream debates directly to viewers/listeners, bypassing the MSM news completely.

whatcat on August 7, 2013 at 12:09 PM

The problem is that there will always be a raft of desperate RINO candidates that will jump at the chance to join an MSNBC debate, -the Johnny Johnsons and the Howard Hunstsmans. The RNC doesn’t have the balls to punish them for that, and the mainstream candidates feel obliged to follow them.

slickwillie2001 on August 7, 2013 at 12:48 PM

The real threat to Media Matters is that a big display of partisanship like this, coupled with the RNC debate pullout, threatens to turn two reliable stealth liberal networks into a known partisan cheerleader like the unwatched PMSNBC.

Sekhmet on August 7, 2013 at 1:19 PM

I see where Mr. Brock might be concerned, but I think he’s greatly ly overestimating the intelligence of the American public, particularly NBC and CNN viewers.

It’s pretty sad when the only check on liberal bias in the media is an openly progressive advocacy house’s sense of shame.

HitNRun on August 7, 2013 at 1:23 PM

DO NOT GIVE UP HOPE LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS! —REGULAR RIGHT GUY

Mornin Mojo on August 7, 2013 at 1:57 PM